The NFL community is currently mourning the loss of Pro Football Hall of Fame coach John Madden after he passed away on Tuesday at the age of 85.
Madden’s coaching career only spanned 10 seasons — during which he led the Raiders to seven AFC title games and a Super Bowl win in 1976 — but his legacy extended far beyond his ability to rally a locker room.
Given that Madden is widely considered the greatest color analyst in league history and helped millions get hooked on the game with the “Madden” video game franchise, he might be the most influential person in NFL history.
We could go on for hours about Madden’s impact on the game.
For now, though, let’s keep the conversation focused on his iconic call of the New England Patriots‘ first-ever Super Bowl win back in 2001.
Remembering John Madden’s iconic call of the Patriots’ first-ever Super Bowl victory
Who could forget this gem?
After the Patriots took over late in the fourth quarter, Bill Belichick was left with one of two decisions: entrust a young quarterback in Tom Brady to march the offense down the field and into field goal range or play it safe and live to fight an extra few minutes in overtime by letting the clock expire.
If Madden were in Belichick’s shoes, he would’ve chosen the latter scenario. In his defense, nobody could’ve predicted the Patriots putting together one of the more memorable drives in Super Bowl history.
"“I don’t agree with what the Patriots are doing right here,” Madden said. “I would play for overtime. If I had good field position, I wouldn’t, but in this field position, I would play for overtime.”"
As Brady and Co. defied the odds, though, Madden delivered one of the most awe-inspiring calls to date. At the drop of a hat, the former Super Bowl champ reversed course and joyfully acknowledged how wrong his initial take was.
"“This is amazing,” he said. “This is something I will admit as a coach and as an analyst, I don’t think they should’ve have done. But they had the guts, they had the young quarterback and they did it. They were backed up. They were inside their own 20 . . .”“At some point when you’re in the Super Bowl, you have to let it all hang out, and I’ll say this: Charlie Weis and this Patriots team, they are letting it all hang out.”"
It was a masterful display of color commentary, and Madden managed to pull it off while capturing just how historic New England’s win proved to be.
After Brady spiked the ball with seven seconds remaining, Madden confessed that the second-year QB gave him goosebumps. That pretty much describes the impact Madden had on fans when he broadcast games.
As for Patriots fans, well, they should be counting their blessings that Madden was on the call of the team’s first Super Bowl win, because it might just be the most recognizable call in the game’s illustrious history.